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Rockefeller Introduces Spectrum Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

Rockefeller Introduces Spectrum Bill

Authorizes incentive cautions but no involuntary broadcast reclamations
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Senator Jay
Rockefeller (D-w.Va.) has introduced a bill that would authorize an
incentive auction to reiburse broadcasters for spectrum reclaimed by the
government, but only so long as it was given
up voluntarily.

The bill,
whose primary purpose is to allocate spectrum and funds to create a
national, interoperable public safety network, also gives the FCC the
incentive auction authority with this caveat: "The
Commission may not reclaim frequencies licensed to broadcast television
3 licensees or other licensees, directly or indirectly, on
an involuntary basis."

There are
already a couple of incentive auction bills in the works, including a
Senate bill introduced by Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman
John Kerry (D-Mass.) and senior Commerce Committee
member Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) that would levy a spectrum fee on the
broadcasters who don't give up spectrum.
Broadcasters argue that would make the regime less than voluntary.

Another
bill
, from Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), is more to broadcasters' liking,
also preventing any "involuntary" spectrum reclamation from broadcasters.
The big question will be how "involuntary" is defined in the bills.
Neither the Boucher or Rockefeller bills have spectrum fees.

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